The Chef’s Council: bringing haute cuisine to dysphagia cooking
Nutricia initiated the Chefs’ Council: a unique partnership of dysphagia experts (including healthcare professionals, patients and carers), as well as world-class chefs, who work together to make food pleasurable for patients who have been diagnosed with swallowing difficulties. The Council’s ultimate aim is to improve the dining experience of dysphagia patients by developing dysphagia diet menus that include foods and drinks which are not only safe and nutritious but appetizing too.
The Chef's Council
Experts from across Europe met at the first Chefs’ Council meeting in Barcelona in 2017 and have since worked together to develop recipes to inspire and inform chefs and carers involved in preparing dysphagia meals, whether in hospitals and institutions or at home. They have also jointly developed and pledged to implement the guiding principles of the Dysphagia Act.
What is the Dysphagia Act?
It is the fundamental belief of the Chef’s Council is that patients with dysphagia deserve to enjoy mealtimes so their quality of life can be maintained as far as possible. No matter whether they are in hospital, a care facility or at home, tasty, good food has the power to transform patients’ lives. This conviction is central to the work of the Chefs’ Council and the development of the Dysphagia Act – a collective movement towards providing better food for patients – contributing to encouraging healthier, eating and drinking habits.
The Dysphagia Act is founded on three key principles
SAFETY: People with dysphagia need food and drinks of a specific texture in order to swallow safely. Ensuring a safer food experience also means effective handwashing, kitchen cleanliness and appropriate food storage.
NUTRITION: Good nutrition has an important role in the survival, recovery and wellbeing of people with dysphagia. Diets should be nutritionally balanced and include a wide variety of food and drinks.
PLEASURE: Eating an enjoyable meal is everyone's right and providing pleasure through food and drink is a priority for chefs and carers. Taste, smell and presentation are key factors in achieving a pleasurable food experience.
Dysphagia Connect: Nutricia supports patients from hospital to home
Discharge from hospital following a stroke and a diagnosis of dysphagia can be a worrying time for all concerned. Many patients and those who care for them will be unsure how to cope with the new way of preparing food and drinks once they arrive home, without the advice and oversight of those who cared for them during their stay in hospital.
For this reason and with support from the Chef’s Council, Nutricia have developed a programme called Dysphagia Connect. As well as an introduction to dysphagia, what it is and what it means for the patient and carer, the programme includes a beautifully presented instructional cookbook that guides the user from the very basics of dysphagia cooking, all the way through to expert level dishes and drinks. The book also includes detailed information on safety, preparation and presentation of texture-modified dishes and drinks.
Download the Dysphagia Connect Booklet
This guide has been created with support from The Chef’s Council, a group of international experts dedicated to improving the quality of food and drinks for people with dysphagia and those who care for them.
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